ARC Book Review | 'Forbidden' By Karla Sorensen*


Wow, it’s finally here.

And by ‘it’, I of course mean the release day for the final book in the Ward sister’s series by Karla Sorensen. I’ve loved these characters ever since they were first introduced way back when in ‘The Marriage Effect’, where we got to see Logan and Paige’s love story unfold all whilst caring for his younger sisters. Since then, we’ve been introduced to each sister in turn in their own books, from Molly and Noah’s story, to Claire and Bauer’s, and Lia and Jude’s. And now the time has finally come for Isabel to get her happily ever after – with none other than Aiden Hennessy.

No man has ever rattled Isabel Ward. Until Aiden Hennessy walks in the door of her gym—ownership papers in hand.

The former fighter is a lot of things- a single dad, a widower trying to start over, and a watchful presence that knocks her off her very capable feet.

To make matters worse, Isabel had a crush on him for the entirety of her teenage years. Doodles in her diaries and letters declaring her admiration—while never sent—haunt the absolute crap out of her now that she has to face him every day.

No woman has ever tempted Aiden to move on from the memory of his wife—until Isabel. She’s too young, too fiery, too much of everything he should avoid.

But avoiding is impossible, just like pretending the blistering chemistry between them doesn’t exist.

Now that the unshakeable woman is shaken and the un-temptable man is tempted, Isabel and Aiden have to decide what they’re willing to risk for a taste of the forbidden.

Ever since Isabel was first introduced, she was a character that I felt an instant connection with. The quiet, more serious sister, I knew that whenever her story eventually came around, it would take a lot to convince me that the guy is worthy of her. Thankfully though, with the introduction of Aiden, I shouldn’t have been worried. A former fighter, Aiden is looking for a fresh start with his daughter away from the heartache of losing his wife.

Now I have to say, normally, the use of a ‘dead ex’ with a character takes a lot of convincing to keep me reading. I find it so hard to pull off with a story and continue reading, because essentially to me it seems like the new love interest is essentially second choice. Am I being too critical? Who knows. But if the ex hadn’t died, there essentially wouldn’t be a story to tell. Thankfully though that’s not much of an issue here – Karla handles the trope well and does it justice. I was fully invested in Isabel and Aiden’s relationship right from the start.

Isabel is different from the other Ward sisters – in comparison she is quiet, but strong and badass thanks to her pent up anger from their mother abandoning them. First introduced to a gym and fighting back when she was 14 by Paige, Isabel has instead turned it into her passion and now works at that very gym.

Aiden is someone I warmed up to instantly – you could tell the pain he was feeling after losing his wife and having to look after their daughter alone, and all he wants is the best for their little girl. Ending his fighting career he instead starts on a new path as a gym owner, and of course that’s where he meets the headstrong Isabel.

Seeing the pair meet and try and hide their instant attraction was great, and the slow build up and intensity of their relationship changing had me desperate to keep reading on for more. The tension throughout the book is enough to keep your attention, and the bond and trust they slowly build until it blossoms into something more is beautiful.

It honestly saddens me that this is the end of the Ward sisters series, because I’ve been following along for so long so eager to read each book that releases next. The family dynamic present all the way from the start of The Marriage Effect to Forbidden is remarkable, and I’m going to miss seeing all the character’s I’ve read about before living out their happily ever afters.

Overall, Forbidden is the perfect conclusion to the Ward sister’s series, and I’m so happy that Isabel finally got her happily ever after. I absolutely adore this family and can’t believe the sister’s stories have come to a close, but boy am I looking forward to whatever it is that Karla comes up with next (fingers crossed for the next generation of the Ward family!).

*ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.

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